Leaning In

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A lot of people are talking about the new book being released today written by the chief operations officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg called ‘Lean In’. It is about women in executive positions in business and why there are so few of them, and why they are so often paid less than men in comparable positions of power in a time when women as a whole are better educated than men and often hold more versatile skill-sets. She offers the opinion that it is not only the male ‘good-ol’-boy’ culture of keeping women down under a ‘glass-ceiling’ which explains this phenomenon, but also the inherent nature of women not to assert themselves and strive for power over others. She uses the term ‘leadership’, but let’s not kid ourselves. She’s talking about power. Observing that men as a whole claim credit for their personal success as a result of their own individual skill while successful women on the other hand more often attribute their success to luck, and the contributions of others around them, the thrust of her book seems to suggest that women should be more like men and value their own attributes as a way to assert themselves into leadership roles equal to those of men. She asserts that these traditionally male personality traits need to be cultivated in women throughout their lives in both their family and educational environments.

While Ms. Sandberg and I are both women who share the same nominal job-titles in our respective careers, the family business I run is a small fraction of the size of Facebook, yet it seems to me that my own personal success is realistically attributable in no small degree to luck and the contributions of others around me. And if most successful men were truly honest with themselves that would be a correct assessment for them as well. The arrogant, self-congratulatory nature of successful men is in my view a problematical shortcoming, one which we had to view ad-nauseum during the Republican presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, whose whole party platform reeked of the boastful claim “I built that”! It is a common flaw in the American psyche to believe that we are masters of our own fate, and all we achieve is due to our own individual efforts with no help from others. Despite this common delusion which fuels the right-wing capitalist class in this country, success is a result of myriad contributing factors most of which are outside of our direct control. The problem I have with Ms. Sandberg’s theory is that it would be a sad state of affairs to encourage women to be more like men in the business world as most of the problems with big-business stem from the arrogant, self-serving attributes of the dominant male personality.

Rather than encouraging women to be more like men, we should be encouraging men to be more like women, embracing strategies which bring workers and management together as a team, instead of exacerbating an already top-heavy hierarchical philosophy in business where the mistakes of personal greed and arrogance have resulted in repeated cycles of economic failure and collapse. The very nature of women is to nurture those around her and foster an environment where everyone gets along and everyone else’s success is a goal. The male nature is to grab everything from those around him and seize control over others for himself. Rather than ‘leaning in’ to take more personal power in business, women should celebrate their own virtues and demonstrate that the male traits which have won him power in the business world are really not business virtues, but merely flaws which make business operate for the betterment of the few at the expense of the many. The enormous disparities in income which are threatening our freedom and democratic way of life in America now are the result of this very flaw in the male ego. Greed may be good for the Gordon Gekkos of the world, but it is not good for the world as a whole. Until men learn to behave more like women, we will have these destructive tendencies in the business world and our economic problems will only get worse. Let’s write a book about THAT!

(c) March 11, 2013 – Bethany Ariel Frasier

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Leaning In, 5.6 out of 6 based on 7 ratings

3 thoughts on “Leaning In

  1. When Marissa Mayer from Yahoo reorganized the sleepy giant by controversial work-from-home ban she got attacked from many sides.

    It was Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg (a friend of her) who backed Marissa Mayer saying:

    ‘She would not be a hate figure if she were a man’

    Men are so sensible, load them with beer and you can take them anywhere, but never attack their pride! Poor fellows, pride is their greatest enemy… Fuck!

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  2. However, your article is excellent, because so many males voted ‘bad’ – Ha, ha!

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  3. geckos are greedy!

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